The Olmitz Volunteer Fire Department has been awarded a $5,992 grant through the Kansas Firefighter Recruitment and Safety Grant Program administered by the Office of the State Fire Marshal. The grant award will be used by the fire department for the purchase of new firefighting safety gear, such as fire coats, helmets, boots, pants and masks. Approximately $200,000 is being awarded to fire departments throughout the state for safety gear, washer/extractor machines for cleaning bunker gear, and the start-up of Junior Firefighter programs.
This program, made possible with the 2016 State of Kansas budget passed by the state Legislature and signed by Governor Sam Brownback, is aimed at assisting volunteer and part-time fire departments across the state with firefighter recruitment.
Volunteer and part-time fire departments face recruitment and retention challenges because they do not have the funding to provide safety equipment. Without new equipment provided by the recruiting fire department, potential volunteers are faced with not only donating their time but also providing their own safety gear, sharing gear with others, or doing without.
“Our goal is that by providing funding for new safety gear, volunteer and part-time fire departments will not only be able to eliminate obstacles to recruiting new firefighters, but will help create safer fire departments across the state,” said Doug Jorgensen, State Fire Marshal.